SPRINGFIELD—Mayor Domenic Sarno and the City Council averted a political crisis Monday by agreeing to sunset what now amounts to suspensions of key parts of the Police Commission ordinance. The change ostensibly arose to ensure Deputy Police Chief Lawrence Akers, who would be the city’s first Black police leader, will have the same powers his four predecessors had.
However, the pair of ordinances, which reallocate most of the Police Commission’s power other than to mete out discipline, prompted sharp pushback.
Newly (re-)installed Springfield City Council President Michael Fenton has released committee assignments for the body’s 2024 session. Aside from accounting for new members, the allocation of seats and chairs was not a radical departure from 2023. Still, the choices reflect the balance and tone Fenton is trying to strike with his return to the dais.
It was not until four years into the Control Board that the legislature created the supra-departmental position of Chief Administrative & Financial Officer. Timothy “T.J.” Plante is not the first formal CAFO, but he held the position for over a decade after years in the city finance department.
Despite the big figures involved, the Springfield City Council scampered through its regular February meeting uneventfully. But with looming costs for current and future retirees, the meeting was a sobering reminder of Springfield’s future fiscal challenges.
SPRINGFIELD—A new calendar year also means a new municipal year here. The only formal order of business in the new year was the installation of the Council President. At-large Councilor Jesse Lederman had already secured the votes for a full term as President in 2023. Yet, this is no ordinary municipal year.
EAST LONGMEADOW—Given how she envisioned the arc of her life, Sydney Levin-Epstein doubts she would have sought public office if things went differently. Now she is locked in a heated race with Ludlow State Representative Jake Oliveira for one of region’s coveted State Senate seats.
SPRINGFIELD—Six weeks from the primary, candidates for open local races assembled here for one of the first in-person face-offs of the 2022 primary season. The senate side of the evening happened as Longmeadow Senator Eric Lesser exits the Senate to run for lieutenant governor.
This week Springfield City Council President Marcus Williams released his committee assignments for the municipal legislature. It comes days after beginning his second year atop the Council and his fourth term as the Ward 5 Councilor.
SPRINGFIELD—The wards were the highlight of Monday’s City Council virtual meeting. Early on, the Council considered a crush of utility petitions that received an unusual amount of scrutiny. Oddly most of these items happened to fall within Ward 2. Its councilor, Michael Fenton, raised the
SPRINGFIELD—Beyond selecting a new colleague, the City Council’s Monday night remained within the normal. Still, there were a few standout items. The Council approved the first components of the city’s new master plan for downtown, namely around MGM and the MassMutual Center. A discernable vision